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Episode 4 of 5

Agony aunt Irma Kurtz talks to her Egyptian counterpart, Youssra el-Sharkawy, about her newspaper advice column. From August 2014.

Irma Kurtz, Cosmopolitan magazine's Agony Aunt for over 40 years, talks to a different agony aunt from around the world for each programme in this series.

She speaks to Aunts from America, India, Australia, Egypt and South Africa, and reflects on the universal and contrasting problems that occur in their particular society. These Aunts, many of whom have dramatic personal lives themselves, offer advice in newspaper columns, on radio phone-ins and on-line.

Irma draws on her ample experience to offer a useful perspective on their approach to problem solving. Together they discuss the problems specific to their communities and listeners hear examples of some of the letters they receive and the advice given.

Programme 5: Youssra el-Sharkawy, Egypt.

Youssra el-Sharkawy had an advice column in The Egyptian Gazette, an English speaking newspaper. Agony Aunts are usually older than the people who write to them, but Youssra is young - only 27 years old. Her career as an agony aunt began when she joined an all-women theatre troupe and became drawn into helping her fellow actors with their problems. Her correspondents tend to be young and idealistic and Youssra deals with their concerns with a rational and mature approach. The revolutionary events in Egypt mean that some of the women who write to her are alone and depressed. She talks to Irma about the position of women in her country and her frustration at being a free-thinking woman in a country where many women are far from liberation.

Produced by Ronni Davis
A White Pebble Media production for BBC Radio 4.

Available now

15 minutes

Last on

Fri 9 Dec 2016 02:15


Role Contributor
Presenter Tom Sutcliffe
Interviewed Guest Grayson Perry
Interviewed Guest Penelope Curtis
Interviewed Guest Philip Davis
Interviewed Guest Nicholas Lovell
Producer Katy Hickman


  • Mon 4 Aug 2014 09:30
  • Thu 13 Nov 2014 13:45
  • Thu 8 Dec 2016 14:15
  • Fri 9 Dec 2016 02:15